Monday, June 30, 2008

My dad and SATC

This post is both related to how uncomfortable my dad makes my life sometimes and how the Sex and the City movie read my mind (but in a less funny way). I've taken flak before from people who claim I paint my dad in an "unfair light". That could be a fair criticism if he weren't completely strange.

To wit: one of the supposed benefits of being near my childhood home this summer is the frequency with which I get to see my family. I do enjoy this time, if only because it makes me realize how blessed I am to live a thousand miles away the other nine months of the year. That said, my father is on a movie kick. I consider these to be expensive naps for him as I can count on two hands the number of movies I've seen with him in the last 10 years that he's stayed awake for. I don't mind. He pays, and he buys Junior Mints.

So, Friday night, he calls me and asks if I want to see a movie on Saturday. "Sure," I say, and I read him the movies that are playing. I was hoping he wanted to see the movie "Wanted", so I reminded him that he likes both Morgan Freeman AND Angelina Jolie, and they're in a movie together. "Well," he says, "What about Sex and the City? Would you see that again?"

I tried explaining to him that I didn't think he would like it and he said some of the women in his Sunday School class said they thought he would. When I get my hands on those bitches, I will cut them. So I agreed to go (after much cajoling from my sister, who reasoned that it would be creepier for him to see the movie by himself and that he would probably fall asleep anyway).

That is not true. He stayed awake the entire time. I died a little every sex scene. The full frontal shot almost did me in. But, now to the technology part: the funniest part of the movie for both of us was when Carrie tries to use an iPhone and fails. Because my dad has an iPhone he can barely use. He doesn't know how to get on the internet. My sister and I also think he can use the caller ID and can see his missed calls, but he can't get to his contacts list. Consequently, on several occasions, he has called one of his children asking for the other child's phone number. Dad claims he can use the phone just fine, and he likes it because it doesn't "turn itself off".

To move into the social commentary: I always find it disturbing that Carrie Bradshaw was the last person in the Western World to get a cell phone. Moreover, why won't she text? And why, for someone so image conscious, would she hold her cellphone together with duct tape?

I couldn't help but feel judged. "Ohhhhh, Carrie doesn't text. It isn't a valid way to carry on adult relationships. People only text for SEX." And while this may be true, ultimately, I feel hurt and betrayed. Since when did SATC judge proclivities and piccadillos? And then there was the pun about subtexts of texts. Listen, lady (Michael Patrick King), I think I said something about textual subtexts back in 2003. (Some of you will remember that I am sensitive to people "stealing my material" a la that bitch Sarah Silverman and my joke about showering).

Ultimately, I am scarred for life. Seeing the movie with my dad was bad enough, and the rip on technology driven relationships sent me over the edge. Maybe I'll have recovered sufficiently later on to answer some more of your questions.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Bittersweet return: part 2

I hope you’re feeling refreshed after that last post. Eager to read what comes next in this sad saga. Read on.

This last one is the one that really irks me. Pisses me off to the point I get drunk and talk about it. And by talk, I clearly mean blabber to whomever is unlucky enough to be sitting next to me. But I digress—back to the END. He stopped responding. At first, I was nonplussed. Clearly he’s emotionally unavailable and not good with feelings or power dynamics, hence the communicating in 140 character increments.

But as the days passed, I went through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief.

  • Denial—Maybe he didn’t get my last text. My phone sometimes doesn’t send texts right away. Occasionally, I’ll be sitting next to someone as they get a text I sent them hours ago. Sometimes whole days.
  • Anger—That emotional asshat can’t even return a goddamn text?! Really? Texting is the farthest thing from a commitment. Not that I would even want a commitment from him. Seriously? Fucker.
  • Bargaining—Just wait till the end of the summer. I’ll be back home and have plenty to do… I won’t text that often, I promise.
  • Depression—Texting just isn’t even worth it anymore.
  • Acceptance—No, screw it, I’m back to anger.

Why am I angry, you ask? Good question. It’s not like it was a committed relationship or one that had a future. It was the fast train to carpal tunnel syndrome and I should be glad to be done. Here’s why: he is dating someone. Like, a real girl. Probably a lady, actually.

I’m livid. It’s worse than a real breakup because I’m just mad I didn’t think of it first. And, because the reason we were texting in the first place is because he’s such a jerk he can’t relate to people face-to-face or even over the phone. But now, he’s going on real, live dates, and I’m writing a fucking blog post.

God, I want a Diet Coke.

Bittersweet return

After a brief hiatus, and the sad departure of C.elgans due to her “day job”, I am once again touched by the overwhelming desire to help you navigate this technological world.

So, I bring you what I think is a fitting topic: the end of a textversation.

As some of you know, as of a couple months ago, I was carrying on three different textual relationships. All very different, I was getting what I needed from several sources. (N.B. Yes, dad, I realize that these “virtual relationships” are keeping me from actually meeting a “real” man. I also understand that you’re not getting younger, and you want grandchildren. And no, I’m not a lesbian. Yet.)

In any event, away from my natural habitat for the summer, I’ve discovered something else unnatural: all of these relationships have ended.

The first, I ended. Upon reflection, I’m not sure why. I just stopped responding. I’ve tried convincing myself that it was because his sarcasm didn’t really transfer to texting. It is a fine art, and I think he thought he was funnier than he was. Not his fault. Well, it was, actually.

The next, went to a foreign country for three months. Surprisingly, I didn’t notice until a couple of days ago. I mean, I knew he was gone, I’m not that self-centered. But I didn’t feel his absence. It was like in 10th grade, when I gave up soda for soccer season. At first, I wanted Diet Coke all the time. Like, constantly. Then, I didn’t. I forgot. I got used to not having it. This guy is gone from my life like that. (Of course, I am currently looking at 3 empty Diet Coke bottles on my desk, so the metaphor may not have run its course yet.)

I’ll let you think about this for a second before I move on to something more upsetting.

Marinate, think upon your own relationships, have a cry, go to the bathroom, come back.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

R.I.P. Little Friend

We hardly knew thee, but I'm sure you would have grown up to be glorious like your creators. And now, you too, have failed at life.

Monday, March 31, 2008


I have recently realized, much to my chagrin, that the old analogy Jennifer and I use re: motivation in life has, over the years, become the most apt. 

We agree that the two of us are much like Seabiscuit.  For those of you who don't know, Seabiscuit, as depicted in the 2003 movie "Seabiscuit," only "ran" when there was a challenge.

This, dear pantsless Jenifers, we can distill into multiple areas of life, for me personally:
  • Romance: I am commonly attracted to (and pursue) people who present me with a challenge (i.e. they aren't interested, they have some sort of emotional issue, they smell oddly like chicken, they have appalling manners, or they are kind of mean -- plenty of other examples are available, just ask me -- usually these people end up being just like I am (except for the chicken smell -- I smell like a big cigarette) -- it's shocking!).
  • Fitness: I really only exercise when I notice how fat I am.
  • Responsibility: I get things done at the last minute (my drivers license expires in about ten days -- need to nip that in the bud, will probably wait until next week).
  • Work ethic: I test myself with very little sleep coupled with too much fun (going to work on a Sunday at 5:30am after a Saturday night out until 4am, for example).
  • Personal upkeep: I buy underwear and socks only when they fall apart.
  • Et cetera: The list goes on... but gets more vindictive (at times), quirky (most times) and peculiar (at all times)...
While somewhat too illuminating, I feel like that list (and its multiple omissions) pretty much sums up my life at the moment.  I only run when there is a challenge.  And when I run, I win -- but I don't run much, mainly because I'm lazy, kind of like how I'm too lazy to end a sentence, so I operate mainly off of lists and run-on sentences and multiple sentence fragments.  I suppose the take-away from the above is that life must present some sort of challenge to remain interesting -- and when nothing terribly compelling happens, one has to create these challenges -- even if it's as stupid as not grocery shopping until I'm too broke to afford both ramen and diet coke (and choose diet coke every time). 

To tie into another favorite metaphor, life lately is just a Samuel Beckett play that Beckett wasn't up to writing.  It's absurdity found in day-to-day normalcy.  As absurd as finding a feather sticking out on a wingtip from a Wal*Mart fried chicken 8-piece family pack.  As absurd as a dog costume on a human.  Absurd as lighting the filter tip of a cigarette and taking a drag, as watching Christine give her rat a bath, as getting all dressed up and good-smelling to go to the gas station, as meeting the man of your dreams and then meeting his beautiful wife... wait, that's ironic.


The Last Minute

This semester I'm taking a class on Immigration Law.  Roughly February 10th, 15th, some time, who the f knows...we were assigned our final project.  This project was to be a 10-13 page research paper on some super provocative immigration law topic.  I decided to undertake the option entitled "Immigration Reform for Political Junkies" because I like to consider myself one sometimes.  Actually, I'm probably more like that person who just does it know, like at parties and stuff.  I'm not a junkie.  Anyway, this project description sat in a binder until tonight at about 10:30.  Said project is due tomorrow.  

The fact that I have waited until the last minute to do EVERYTHING I've ever had to do has started to make me crazy.  I can't change.  People don't.  Anyone who tells you that people change is a liar (or is dating someone that cheated on them).  Now, it's 3 in the morning and I'm reading this crap I just wrote and am being forced to beat off the guilt with a stick.  

I will never be a "productive" person, I will never be "organized" or "prepared" or "interested in the stuff I'm doing", but dammit it will get finished at the last minute.  Even if I have to sit here until the Professor comes to find me tomorrow morning, this shit will get done.

Now, who wants to give me a job?  I'm graduating in May. 

Friday, March 28, 2008

Tom Harkin, IA (D)

Today, I completely embarrassed myself in front of a United States' Senator. This event, unfortunately, is not singular, as I have had the opportunity to embarrass myself in front of quite a few distinguished guests over the last seven months, and I have rarely underpreformed.

Usually, these sorts of things involve me asking a question and then continuing to ask the question in multiple ways, in a verbal diarrhea downward spiral until I peter out and the speaker answers the query. This evening was particularly wonderful as I have not slept a whole lot in the last few days, and Tom Harkin makes me go gooey under the best of circumstances.

So there we are, Senator Harkin telling us how the New Deal was not a failure and answering questions about the farm bill and talking about the "new" civil rights... and I'm hooked. I love this man. Deeply. A committed public servant. Who loves popcorn. So he finishes. And the handlers are trying to get him out the door. So of course I run up to him, and get in line behind the other policy nerds who want to shake his hand and say something completely asinine. I should probably mention that, at this point, I'm shifting from foot to foot, trying to organize my thoughts, mostly making awkward noises when I think it might be about my turn to be next in line. He shoots me a glance at this point--it makes it worse. THEN, my turn. I roll up to him, hand outstretched.

"Hi," I say, "thankyouforcomingtospeakwithussenator,you'reoneofthetrulygreatpublicservantso

And then he puts his hand on my shoulder, and asks me my name. And I blank. And I know that I've just blown my chance to work for a U.S. Senator that I know and love.

And I bet you're all wondering what the hell this has to do with text messaging... nothing, other than if this had been a textversation, it would have gone like this:

SenatorHarkin: Hey
NoviceWonk: Hey
SenatorHarkin: How're you?
NoviceWonk: Good. Thnx for coming today. It was great.
SenatorHarkin: No problm. Enjoyed it. LBJ library = awesome.
NoviceWonk: Seriously. Also, loved the FarmBill.
SenatorHarkin: ??
NoviceWonk: The way you blended maternal/child health and subsidies. Awes.
SenatorHarkin: Word. Make sure you vote.
NoviceWonk: Will do.